By Linda Rosenkrantz
In case you don’t think the middle name choice is an important one, just take a look at the startling number of celebrities who have opted for using their
middle names in lieu of the first name on their birth certificates! Some have dropped a ho-hum common in favor of a more dramatic middle, others, to avoid confusion, have shed a name shared with their parent.
To begin with, there have been five US Presidents who have made the first-middle name switch:
Hiram Ulysses S. —At 17, when entering Grant West Point, his name was mistakenly written as Ulysses S. Grant and he apparently was happy to lose the HUG initials. The S was for his mother’s maiden name, Simpson.
Stephen —named Grover Cleveland Stephen in honor of the first pastor of his father’s church, but always called Grover
Thomas — Woodrow Wilson Woodrow was his mother’s maiden name—he dropped Thomas after graduating from college
John Calvin Coolidge Jr—he named his children John Coolidge and Calvin Coolidge, Jr—covering all his bases
David Dwight Eisenhower—his father was also David, so his mother reversed the two names after his birth to avoid the confusion of having two Davids; the president’s grandson inherited the David name.
Some other older examples:
Eldred his father was Gregory Peck— Gregory Pearl—the actor definitely made the best pick of the lot
Samuel — Dashiell Hammett Dashiell was his mother’s maiden name, he was known as Sam (as in his character Sam Spade) before he began writing under the Dashiell name (and then nicknamed Dash).
Pearl —born in Zanesville, Ohio, named for his great-grandfather, to a mother whose maiden name was Zane Grey Zane; he dropped the feminine Pearl early on
George —he was named after his great-uncle Orson Welles George Head and great-grandfather Orson H. Head; the future Citizen -maker opted for the more distinctive name Kane
Boys who dropped their Daddies’ names:
Charles Robert Redford, Jr
Christopher Chace Crawford
Daniel Jason Sudeikis
George ander Alex Trebek
James the name was passed on to Paul McCartney– Paul‘s only son, making it a three-generation tradition
Michael Trent Reznor
Monroe V—MJR II was the head of Standard Oil, MJR V is also related to Jackson Rathbone Stonewall Jackson and Basil Rathbone
William ley Brad Pitt (The two William Pitts shown in the illustration)
William he was named after his father, but was called Clark Gable— Clark—the maiden name of his maternal grandmother– even in childhood, as well as Clarkie, Billy and Gabe.
Allen Kelsey Grammer
Aubrey Drake Graham—the future rapper used the name Aubrey Graham when he acted in Degrassi: The Next Generation.
Christopher Ashton Kutcher
Clarke using middles as firsts is something of a Issac Hanson— Hanson family tradition (see Jordan Taylor). And Isaac carries on the convention with his sons Clarke Everett, called Everett, and James Monroe, called Monroe. Clarke is the name of the father of the clan.
David Heyworth Jude the Law— Jude was for both and ‘Hey, Jude the Obscure Jude’
James Hugh Calum Laurie
John iam Will Ferrell
Jordan his oldest child is named Taylor Hanson— Jordan but, of course, called by his middle, Ezra.
Matthew Ryan Phillippe
Michael Gardenzio Sylvester Stallone
Milton he is the fourth generation of his family to wear the name French Stewart— French
Philip Anthony Hopkins
Thomas Jacob (named his son Jack) Black— Thomas David Black
Thomas he was called Sean Connery— Sean as a lad when he had a close Irish friend and the pair became known as Seamus and Sean, though he was usually called Tommy. Thomas was his grandfather’s name.
Walter Bruce Willis
Audrey Faith Hill
Dorothy Faye Dunaway
Elizabeth Stama tina —you have to wonder if she was ever called Fey Liz
Elizabeth Panta Tea leoni
Shankar—she changed her name to Norah Jones Norah Jones officially at the age of sixteen
Hannah Dakota Fanning
Katherine Mathilda ( Tilda) Swinton
Kathryn Bridget Moynahan
Laura Jeanne — Reese Witherspoon Reese is her mother’s maiden
Lila Diane Sawyer
Mary Elle Fanning—followed in her sister Dakota’s name-changing footsteps
Mary Kathleen Turner
Mary —these three are among many who have dropped the name Rose Byrne Mary
Mayte is a variation of Maite, originally a contraction of Michelle Rodriguez— Maria and Teresa, and currently Number 24 in Chile
Nicole Evangeline Lilly
Olive —her mother is Marie Osmond Olive May
Robyn Fenry Rihanna